Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Butler Didn't Do It (unless of course he did)

(Warning to all readers: the following contains a glimpse into the workings of the authors brain. It's not for the feint of heart or sound of mind.

It was a dark and stormy night... (Snoopy would be so proud.)

But inside the room was warm and the flames danced in the fireplace.

Colonel Mustard stood with a snifter of Brandy in his hand, a pith helmet on his head. A walking cane with a Sphinx head handle rested against the wall. He glanced around the room. Tudor Mansion's main hall looked a little past its hay-day. A few stains on the Persian rugs, tarnished silverware and the wallpaper, though top notch, was looking rather dated.

Still, the chandeliers shone brightly, especially with the new halogen bulbs and the company was as marvelous as ever. Professor Plum stood in his favorite corner rabbiting on to an attractive young woman.

Mrs. Peacock sat beside a handsome young gentleman, proudly displaying her recently purchased, surgically enhanced umm... feathers.

Fortunately for her, Reverend Green was to busy losing money to Mrs. White at cards to notice her unbecoming behavior. Strangely enough Mrs. Scarlett was nowhere to be found.

Just then, the doorbell rang.

"Don't be alarmed," Colonel mustard said, twirling his white handle-bar mustache. "It's just the door. I'll get it."

The guests sat down back down, but as Col. Mustard stepped toward the door he caught one of them gazing at him with a sort of goo-goo eyed look. If he remembered rightly, the little minx was Alexandra, 26, a business executive from Austin Texas. Strangely, she was the only executive he'd ever met that looked like a cheerleader and twirled her hair.

In the meantime the door bell rang again and then a fist began pounding on the door itself.

Colonel Mustard opened the door to find Mrs. Scarlett standing on the other side. Her face was, well... Scarlett from the cold and snow covered her hair.

"Where the devil have you been, Mrs. Scarlett?"

"Where the devil indeed," she growled, stomping her way in.

The snow and wind swirled in behind her as the eyes of the group watched. Despite not being a 24 year old Appellate Judge from Saginaw, Michigan, Mrs. Scarlett was still a sight to behold, especially in full fury, a form he guessed they were all about to see.

"It was one of you!" she roared, looking around.

"One of us what?" That comment came from a young guy with spiked blond hair, an admirably chiseled physique and swirling tattoos that would probably resemble deflated paisleys if he ever stopped taking steroids or HGH.

"Never mind that," Mrs. Peacock said, "She's always been so dramatic. Have I told much money I have lately?"

"Tell me again baby," chiseled boy said, "you know I like it when you talk about money."

Before she could speak a shoe flew out of nowhere and nailed him in the side of the head. A Scarlett shoe. Chiseled boy went down like a sack of potatoes. Mustard took notes, Mrs. Scarlett, in the parlor, with the shoe. Just in case.

"Look," Scarlett shouted, pointing out the door.

There, half covered in the falling snow lay a body. A relatively normal looking man with close cut brown hair, and a non-descript face. A microphone was attached to his lapel of his expensive suit.

"One of you killed him," Scarlett said.

Col. Mustard stepped to the body, brushed the snow away from the man's face and gasped.

"It's Chris Harrison - our host."

"What?!" The others shouted in unison. "Who could have killed him and why?"

They dragged Chris Harrison into the parlor and dropped him like a frozen fish stick. They searched his body for marks or other signs of foul play. All they found was a small almost worn out cue card in his inside pocket.

Col. Mustard studied it. "This is the most dramatic moment in Bachelor history." Only the word Bachelor had been scratched out and the word Clue had been handwritten underneath it.

Bloody penny pinching networks, Mustard thought, couldn't they at least spring for new cue cards. Bad enough they made him wear the same ridiculous wardrobe he'd been wearing since 1949. Who the hell even knew what a pith helmet was these days?

Still as he stared at Chris Harrison, his mouth frozen as if in mid-sentence , Mustard knew how the man had died.

"Verbosis Repeatosis," he said confidently.

"Is that like E-bola," one of the young women said.

Mustard wouldhave figured she'd know better, every time she walked by he saw the words: Sindy, 22, Neurosurgeon, from San Diego California, stenciled in white letters that seemed to float before his eyes. Apparently they skipped plagues at her Medical School.

"Verbosis Repeatosis is a dangerous condition that occurs when one says the same thing over and over and then tries to divert from that well worn path, it results in shock and if not treated by cutting to a commercial soon enough...then death."

All of them stared at affable but now frozen host.

"Well that explains why you've never died from it," The Reverend said piously.

"Then we all killed him," Scarlett said. "This unnatural combination of board game and reality TV series was just wrong from the beginning."

"Not to mention illegal in the great states of Wisconsin, North Carolina and Nevada," Professor Plum said - also piously.

"Nevada?" Mrs. White said. "Something is illegal in Nevada?"

"Yes," Plum assured her.

"It doesn't matter," Colonel Mustard said. "We're in England, and lots of things that don't go in the U.S. are allowed here. Warm beer, driving on the wrong side of the road and Football where you actually use your foot on the ball."

Just then the lights flickered and went out, only the candles and the fire remained on. Suddenly a group of flaming torches could bee seen making their way down the stairs, holding them were members of the original CLUE game designed in 1949, Colonel Mustard's almost twin brother, Colonel Yellow, along with Mrs. Silver and Mr. Gold. With them was a square jawed man wearing cargo shorts and a olive colored khaki shirt with buttoned pockets.

"Jeff Probst," Mrs. Peacock exclaimed, "Now there's a host I could warm up to. Do you know how much money I have, Mr. Probst?

"If you don't have the immunity idol, you mean nothing to me," he replied.

"What the hell is going on here?" Reverend Green exclaimed.

"Were doing everything we can to become more relevant and user friendly," Colonel Mustard said. "We have to keep updating ourselves or no one will want to buy us anymore."

He turned to Jeff Probst. "Do you how Chris died? Is there some challenge we can endure to get the information?"

Probst shook is head. "Actually," he said. "Chris isn't dead, he was voted off the island."

"But we're not on an island," Mrs. Peacock said.

"The whole country is an island," Colonel Mustard said, exasperated.

"Oh," she said. "Right."

"But he is dead," Professor Plum noted.

Probst looked at Harrison, curiously. "Wait a minute," he said.

Reaching into one of his cargo pockets, he pulled out a remote control and studied it.

"Just as I thought."

"What is it?" they all asked.

"He's not dead," Probst said. "Someone just TIVO'd him, and he's been paused. A little unfortunate that it happened while he was out in the snow but..."

With that, Probst pressed the right button and suddenly Chris Harrison came to life.

He sputtered and then spoke. "... and most dramatic moment in--"

"No!" Colonel mustard shouted, cutting him off. "You musn't say it, old boy. Trust me."

Harrison stood. "Why the hell am I cold and wet?" Then he spotted the Survivor host. "And what's he doing here, he's on another network?"

"Take it easy Chris, I just un-paused your ass," Probst said. "Don't make me erase you."

"This is insanity," Hanson said and then he turned and stormed out muttering to himself. "This never happened before, not even on stupid video show I used to host."

At the same time Probst and the Jury marched away, a phone to Jeff's ear. "Marty, this is Jeff, get my agent on the line... My contract says tropical, dammit. Not damp, drafty and cold. I wearing shorts for goodness sakes, Shorts!"

As they left, the beautiful, bubble gum popping neurosurgeons and captains of industry marched off too, their little graphics following them as they went. And then, all that remained were the original characters.

Quiet surrounded them. The clock on the wall ticked methodically as they stared at one another.
Finally Reverend Green spoke. "I kind of liked it better when we were just little plastic game pieces, anyway."

"I have to agree," Mrs. White said.

"Seriously," Mrs. Peacock said. "Didn't need any enhancements, just a good dusting now and then and keep us away from the dog."

Even Colonel Mustard could see that his idea had been a failure. "Bloody well right," he said. "Perhaps some things don't need updating after all."

The looked around at each other - old friends in a comfortable and familiar home. The fire crackled, soft Jazz played on a Victrola phonograph in the parlor. It was peacful. The kind of place a person could think in.

Then they heard a scream.

"I've found a body!" someone shouted.

And all was right in the Clue Universe.

Graham Brown is the author of the novels Black Rain and Black Sun. His third book The Eden Prophecy hits the book stores this fall. He is also admittedly a huge fan of Survivor, The Bachelor and Clue - although not mixed together.


Rebecca Cantrell said...

Loved your Clue/Survivor mashup, Graham! Funny, original, and unsettling. Vintage Mr. Brown. With a laptop. In the den.

Meredith Cole said...

Very funny, Graham! Clue really was made for reality TV. All the stock characters, and we're just waiting for the body to drop (or the temper tantrums to start!).

Jeannie Holmes said...

Classic, Graham! You should try this writing thing full-time. Who knows? Maybe you'll even have minions one day. ;)

Darrell James said...

Made me laugh, Graham! Very clever! When do we get the next episode?

Kelli Stanley said...

This is priceless, Graham!! I absolutely loved it!!! And I agree--some things don't need updating!! :)


TracyK said...

Excellent job, Graham! Snoopy would indeed be proud.

TracyK said...

Excellent job, Graham! Snoopy would indeed be proud.

Graham Brown said...

Thanks guys - I have to say I was cursing whoever came up with this weeks topic until I started writing then it seemed kind of fun.

Yes Becky -you have me pegged. Laptop and all.

Darrell - the next episode will be... I don't think ever - have no idea where to take thi unless... we could combine it with Wipeout.

Graham Brown said...

Jeannie - I recently saw Despicable Me! I have a new respect for your minions.

Kelli - what say we have a game of CLUE for the Criminal Minds gang at our next official gathering??

Jeannie Holmes said...

I completely respect my minions. I dread the day the realize they outnumber me. ;)

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Hysterial! I've been enjoying all the posts this week. Very imaginative, everyone.